Braised Duck with Black Cherries and Red Wine

, from Issue #49. August, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Braised Duck with Black Cherries and Red Wine

This recipe needs to be started one day ahead to get the best result. The stock from braising the duck will have a lot of fat and chilling it overnight makes it simple to scoop off the thick layer that will have set on top. Use the duck stock to make the final sauce.

Serves: 4


1 duck
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 juniper berries, lightly crushed
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste

To finish
1 tablespoon olive oil
knob of butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon ground mixed spice
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 cup port or red wine
duck stock from braising the duck
1 x 400 gram tin pitted black cherries, drained


Preheat the oven to 160˚C.

Cut the duck down either side of the backbone with kitchen scissors and discard the bone. Cut through the breast bone to give you two duck halves.

Place the vegetables, garlic, juniper berries and the rosemary in a deep roasting dish then add the duck, skin side up. Combine the wine, stock and tomato paste and pour over the duck. Season well then cover tightly with foil.

Braise for about 2½-3 hours or until the duck is very tender and falling off the bone.

Remove the duck to a plate. When cool enough to handle but still warm, pull off the meat, discarding the skin, fat and bones. Shred into bite-sized pieces.

Strain the cooking stock into a bowl and discard all the vegetables. Cool the stock then cover and chill. Remove the layer of fat when set.

To finish: Heat the oil and butter in a medium saucepan and cook the onions, garlic, mixed spice and the rosemary with a good pinch of salt until soft. Add the port or wine and the duck braising stock. Cook at a fast simmer until syrupy and reduced to 1¼ cups. Add the cherries and cook for 5 minutes. Season. Add the duck meat to the sauce and simmer until hot.

To serve: Divide the duck between 4 serving dishes and top with the hot crispy potatoes

Cook’s tip: If you want a thicker sauce, combine 1-2 teaspoons of cornflour with a little cold water. Stir into the sauce and simmer for a few minutes.